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Tony Sparano shares his philosophy in his first press conference as Raiders head coach

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This Raiders team needed a shake-up so they removed Dennis Allen and promoted Tony Sparano to head coach. When Sparano was announced last week, he said he had a different philosophy for this winless squad, but was going to impart it upon his players before making it known to the rest of us.

Today Sparano sat down for his first post-practice press conference as Raiders head coach. With the new outlook, there was much to discuss and he went long to discuss it.

"I came here and bought into Dennis Allen's philosophy hook, line, and sinker and it was the right philosophy, just I do things differently," said Sparano. "My philosophy is different. One of the things that I believe is you gotta look at reasons how Oakland is beating Oakland right now. Nevermind our opponents. We have to give respect to your opponent, no question about it, but we gotta look at how Oakland's beating Oakland."

Even with all the new players on this team, it has become clear over the team's 10-game losing streak dating back to last season that there is a great problem. Sparano believes it starts with the practice schedule.

"We're doing things faster, we've changed practice schedules, we've changed a ton of things right now. The locker room has changed right now, the practices have changed. We're tapering things down for the players . . . practice time is different on Wednesday. A little bit more rest period prior to a big practice to get more out of Wednesday's practice. The week will continuously taper down for the players to that they have more gas in their tank when they get to the ball game, those type of things."

Aside from the schedule of practices, it's about what practice entails. And with a team that appears and lost as this one, it's back to basics.

"We've added different periods to work on fundamentals, to work on fits, to work on some of the techniques that fly by in our league right now which kind of why you watch what you watch and you see these 40-point lopsided games one way or the other in some situations. Some teams kind of forget about those things and we need to get back to doing those things and putting an emphasis on those things."

The Raiders have had two lopsided losses this season against the Houston Texans in week two and last week in London against the Dolphins. They were also completely outmatched in the opener against a Jets team that has lost every one of their games since week one.

One of the more glaring problems for the Raiders this season has been their run game. They are currently dead last in the league in rushing yards per game (61.5) despite that area being an emphasis this off-season. It's an area on which Sparano would like to place a re-emphasis.

"There's no secret that my emphasis is to run the football to try to keep games tight, try to be able to get yourself in a situation where you can win football games at the end of the game. I just showed the team a statistic over the last five years and it's staggering right now the number of wins and losses . . the Oakland Raiders have had . . losses that were one score or less. And when you start to look at those type of things and you really examine them, the one score can be a big difference whether that mountain looks huge or it's just a hill."

Sparano talks a good game but it doesn't come out of nowhere. He has been around the league a while and has taken his philosophies from some great coaches who have brought their teams to great heights.

"A lot of my philosophy comes through Bill [Parcells]," said Sparano. "I've been fortunate in this business to work for three guys. . . Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin, Marty Schottenheimer, these people, working for Rex [Ryan]. All these people have different philosophies and different styles but coach Parcells, obviously I've probably taken the most from coach. I've had a chance to visit with him in the last couple days and pick his brain a little bit too. And that's a good resource for me always. It always has been and will always continue to be, so that's been helpful for me.

"Part of Bill's philosophy was always ‘don't beat yourself'. I mean, you can't beat yourself. You gotta give yourself a chance to win the football game. That's something that we did in Dallas. When we walked into Dallas, that wasn't a perfect situation by any stretch of the imagination, go back and look at it, look at where they were. I believe they were 3-13 prior to us walking in the door. That year we flipped that one and it was 10-6 (with) Quincy Carter. We're talking about the Raiders right now and it's all part of this. That's part of my philosophy and there's things that I take from every one of them but there's also things that I have a strong belief in coming through this process and working for some of those people."

Sparano has indeed seen a lot of turnarounds. He didn't even mention that he took over a 1-15 Miami Dolphins team in his first head coaching gig and turned them instantly into an 11-5 club.

As Sparano also said, it helps to have guys like Lamarr Woodley on the team who was in the exact same situation last season with the Steelers. They went 0-4 to begin the season, had the bye week in week five and went 8-4 over the final 12 games to finish at 8-8 on the season. This included 2-straight wins following the bye week.

That may or may not be a mountain to climb for these Raiders but it would at least be a very steep hill. Especially considering their schedule the rest of the way and the very next game coming against the AFC West leading 4-1 San Diego Chargers.

It has been a week of what Sparano calls "self-analysis", which even included former head coach Mike Holmgren stopping by to lend his perspective on things. He said as of today, that ends and the focus shifts to what lies ahead.

"This is all about being new right now," Sparano siad. "We put four games behind us today and we're not gonna look back at those four games right now. Once we're done with this self-analysis right here, we are looking ahead at 12 football games. We are not looking behind."